Royal Mail strike vote by 115 000 staff deepens UK labour woe

Employees backed industrial action over pay by the widest margin since labour laws were overhauled in 2016.
A post woman for Royal Mail Plc carries a bag of post for delivery in Chelmsford, U.K. Image: Bloomberg

Royal Mail faces a possible nationwide strike by more than 115 000 postal staff that would be the biggest walkout by British workers this summer.

Employees backed industrial action over pay by the widest margin since labour laws were overhauled in 2016, with almost 98% of votes cast favouring a strike, the Communication Workers Union said in a statement Tuesday.

The CWU has yet to set dates for stoppages but said it “will not budge” until staff receive a “dignified, proper pay rise.” Management has sought to impose a 2% increase despite the UK inflation rate approaching double figures, it said.

Backing for the walkout at Royal Mail was revealed hours after the Unite union suspended plans for a three-day strike by the company’s middle managers that had been due to start Wednesday. Members backed talks on new proposals regarding jobs, pay and working conditions, the labour group said.

A strike by so many postal staff would deepen Britain’s labour woes during what’s been termed a summer of discontent, with rail workers, airline employees, barristers and others walking off their jobs or threatening to do so as the cost of living soars. The protests have led to snags at transport hubs and threaten to exacerbate inflation.

CWU General Secretary Dave Ward said the level of approval for a strike represented a “vote of no confidence” in Royal Mail Chief Executive Officer Simon Thompson and members of the firm’s board. They should “seriously consider their futures,” Ward said.

© 2022 Bloomberg

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